Glen Phillips/Toad the Wet Sprocket appreciation thread. - U2 Feedback

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Old 03-11-2003, 01:39 PM   #1
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Big Grin Glen Phillips/Toad the Wet Sprocket appreciation thread.

It would be really easy to ignore or dismiss Toad. They didn't rewrite the book on anything, and they didn't blow too many people away. So many people think of them as a Hootie clone, or only remember the bubblegum chorus of "All I Want". But there is a thread of humanity that runs through their music, and especially the lyrics of Glen Phillips. They are at once accessible and poignant.

There is no pretense, and they maintained a true-to-themselves integrity throughout their short career, and it has continued through to their post-Toad projects. Lapdog carries on Toad's musical style, in the harder direction they were headed. Glen Phillips, having been the main lyricist of the band, is now expanding on many of the things that he did with Toad, albeit taking things in a more folk direction.

Glen recently released his first solo album, Abulum. It is a mixture of sarcastic commentary, jubilant celebration of life, and reflections on spirituality and social concerns. At times, all in the same song.

The first standout track on the album is "Men Just Leave". It is the story of men who simply leave after their girlfriends become pregnant. He doesn't go out of the way to judge these men, but he does show the strength of the women, and even some remorseful feelings the men have later on. But judgement never comes up, leaving that to the listener to decide.

"Fred Meyers" tells the story of a homeless person who is living in an abandoned store that was run out of business by big chain stores. (Just between the Costco and the Barnes and Noble). The characteres discuss going out on wild exploits, and there is a contentment despite the poverty.

My personal favorite on the album is the true story of one of Glen's friends, "Drive By". A hopelessly stereotypical redneck father decides to off his neighbor's dog with a shotgun. But he drags his son into it, asking him to drive the family Vega while he shoots. The boy prays, "And I prayed dear God if you save this dog/ I will never get high, I will never jack off/ I will do all things that I should but have not/ I'll be a good boy from now on". The song is humorous, and the dog survives, but the boy breaks his promise.

After an irreverant song like "Drive By", Glen goes on to write one of the most beautiful and spiritual songs I've heard outside of U2 for a long time. "Darkest Hour" is a song about reflecting on life and death, and wanting to be ready for death and regain/retain his faith. It is the best song on the album, and possibly the best Glen has ever written.

The recent Toad reunion tour shows hints of the band possibly going into the studio again, but not until after Glen and Lapdog release more material. Whether with Toad or solo, here are some great songs everyone with the slightest interest should check out:

Toad the Wet Sprocket songs:
Way Away
One Little Girl
Come Back Down
Walk on the Ocean
Nightingale Song
Hold Her Down
All I Want
I Will Not Take these Things for Granted
Fly From Heaven <---- my favorite
Something's Always Wrong
Fall Down
Good Intentions
Whatever I Fear
Dam Would Break
Crazy Life (Todd Nichols does vocals here)
Come Down
PS (remix)

Toad cover songs:
Instant Karma (John Lennon)
Rock and Roll All Nite (Kiss, this is funny, live version better)
Hey Bulldog (Beatles)

Glen Phillips solo songs:
Men Just Leave
Fred Meyers
Drive By
Darkest Hour
Train Wreck
Sleep of the Blessed

PS- Avoid Lapdog, the band with the other three members. Not bad, but not very good.
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